Can I install a riving knife on a 1952 Delta Unisaw Model # 34-450
I have a really nice 1952 Delta 10″ Unisaw Model 34-450 that I use often as a hobby woodworker. My concern is “kickback” as the saw blade is completely exposed when cutting any wood and I have experienced “kickback” on occasion no matter how careful I am. I am also concerned about loosing a finger or two in the process and would appreciate your advice.
I have spent a fair amount of time on the web and talking to Delta, but frankly Delta is not helpful in answering whether or not a riving knife would fit my table saw. If you are aware of a riving knife that would fit my machine, I would like to know including the part number and where to get it. Amazon has sells a riving knife, but I understand it is for more recent models.
Thanks and I look forward to your reply.
I don’t think so, unless you build it yourself. You can probably find a splitter for it (no guarantee on that), which is better than nothing.
Thanks for replying eddo234. I do put a tiny plastic splitter on the saw blade insert. But is is very small and I don't think it does much.
Installing a riving knife on a saw that is not designed for it can be difficult to near impossible. The reason for that is that a riving knife tilts, lowers, and rises with the saw blade. However, a splitter, while less convenient, will go a long way toward solving the issues you mention. And, you can usually install one of those much more easily. Some are nothing more than a plastic "fin" that mounts to your ZCI (zero clearance insert). Do a web search for "table saw splitter" and you will find lots of info, ideas, and suggestions.
I will do a web search as you have suggested. Jim
I've been using a Shark guard system on my 80's era Unisaw for a couple of years now and have no complaints, well only minor ones anyway. It won't function like a true riving knife at pivot as the blade tilts but I seldom do that anyway. I strongly urge you to go with the complete guard system it is pretty easy to use and stays on my saw more often than not, which is saying something for a blade guard.
Unfortunately, a 1980s era riving knife will not work, but thanks for your response.
Try Sharkguard online. He makes what he calls a riving knife for many old saws. It's a manual riving knife, that you can adjust easily. It does not go up and down with the blade. I got one for my 1988 delta contractor. You can even get a dust hood for over your blade and dust collection to bring it up to date, and make it safer for your hands.
Thanks. I will contact Sharkguard and see what they have to offer. I hope your woodworking is going well.
The problem with adding a riving knife is that most older saws have a swinging arbor, which tilts to raise the blade. This means that you can't just attach a riving knife to the arbor and expect it to work well. They are likely to bind on the back of the saw throat and the top of the knife will not remain parallel to the table (so you can't easily attach a guard) Nonetheless, if you have at least 2 inches clear behind your blade at full height then adding one of a sort may be an option.
Buy a replacement part for any suitable saw. I know the one for my Hammer K3 would suit. The mount for that is simply an M12 bolt, a block of RHS tubing and two pieces of flat steel. The RHS mounts to the arbor and is of a length to make the riving knife sit perfectly where it should behind the blade. A slot is cut in the arbor to allow the block to move for larger or smaller blades. Critically. the surface of the arbor is ground flat parallel to the blade.
You could I suppose drill and tap a hole in your arbor, or have someone weld on a bolt in a suitable location - after that it would just be a lot of work with a file to get the RHS to the right length.
I would argue that a badly fitted DIY knife is probably worse than none at all though as there is a risk that it will be out of line and get in the way, potentially offering a higher risk situation than had it not been there at all.
A better option would be to make thicker rough rip cuts on the band saw or even use a jigsaw and tune them up to perfection with the table saw. If you are only skimming the edge then there is no risk of binding.
Thanks, from the responses I am getting, I will not be adding a home made riving knife to my table saw---too complicated and unsafe.
I also have an older Unisaw and was in the same boat.
I'm sure there was an article on this topic in one of the latest issues of FWW? That's what I used to make this. Seems to work fine.
Thanks Neil, I use a very small plastic flimsy one that sits on the saw blade insert plate. Unfortunately, according to the advice I am getting, I will not be moving forward with trying to buy, or make, and install a riving knife.
Thanks, I will check past articles of F W.
I will check it out. Jim
If you are getting kickback, the issue could be alignment of the fence to the blade. If the workpiece is binding between the fence and blade on the back side, it will be much more prone to kickback. And it's a much easier fix than retrofitting a riving knife.
You are right, I will check the alignment.
I love my Unisaw and I wish it had a true riving knife but there isn't a good way to add one. I have seen a couple of ideas people have made but it is a lot of work and there is always the risk of something going wrong and the Knife coming in contact with the blade.
So, short answer no. Possible but not practical.
Biggest reason for kickback is the wood gets on top of the blade. No way you can totally stop it but good technique and a healthy respect can prevent you from getting hurt.
If you have or have had a kickback figure out why and never do that again. Understand what happened and why is just as important as anything!!
Thanks for your reply. I understand what you are saying.
Thanks, I will check past articles of F W.